Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Everybody Needs A Little Time Away

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen. - Leonardo Da Vinci

No Internet, No Cell Phone Reception, Just The Ones That Mean The Most

I may not always be about the beach....some days I take the back woods with a Coors Light.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Are You There God, It's Me Stella?

Isn't that a catchy title?  I bet everyone of you have read that Judy Blume book when you were 12 over and over and over again.  Judy Blume wrote awesome books when we were growing up. The only adult book I know of it Sisters and it was good.  Well, yep, it's been almost two months since I've blogged.  What excuses do I have?
  • My Daughter's 3rd Birthday Party
  • Coordinator of a 3 day Summer Institute Conference with over 40 workshop sessions for faculty
  • Upgraded to a new online learning system
  • Ended a semester teaching 3 courses in addition to my full time job, starting a new semester teaching one.
  • Visited with family
  • Trying to organize my home
  • And oh yeah, I have a 5 and 3 year old keeping me busy.....
Boy, I sound like a dork!  As my DH is working, kids finally asleep, I decided to not lay in bed with Blue Bistro by Elin Hildenbrand. Instead, I wanted to give a shout out to all my 13 followers...woot! woot! 

Now, this weekend I'm off to see Toy Story 3 with the kids....has anyone noticed the advertising on Toy Story 3 inside every single store you walk into? My kids are drooling at the mouth. But, you know what, out of all the Disney movies and toys geared toward kids..Toy Story certainly gets two thumbs up.  No mama deer is being shot (Bambi), dog gets caught in the fire (Bolt), flying monkeys and witches (Wizard of Oz), crazy chocolate man (Willy Wonka), you know the drill...although I did hear Toy Story 3 was sad from the adult perspective. 

Now, maybe I should rethink this..because we play Toy Story 3 Dominos and I don't know how many times I have giggled like a naughty school girl when I saw, "Does anyone have a Woody?"  and my son says, "I have two Woody's."  Or, "Does anyone have a Buzz?" and my daughter says, "I wish I had a buzz." Well you know what girl, I wish I had one too. ;)

Monday, May 3, 2010

To Be Young Again

So, this is my daughter JoJo. We were at her big brother's t-ball game.  Where could you find her?  She was off in left field dancing to her own beat.

It makes me think of the song:

That's my little right brained child!  So carefree!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Las Vegas Baby!

The past few months, things have been really good around here, but very hectic.  It's just a busy schedule with our quaint little family of four. Fortunately, we have my parents "out here" so they can jump in with the kiddos anytime they are available..which means it's a well deserved long weekend for my hubby and I.  It wasn't always this way, as it was a tough three years without family near us. 

So, a few months back, we saw that Ray Romano and Kevin James were going to be in Vegas. Now, DH and I LOVE, did I say LOVE Kevin James. He brings out the best in us..Yes, he makes my husband laugh so hard he cries, and that was one of the many reasons I fell in love with my husband. You see, we're in a really good place right now and I want to hold on to it for awhile. I mean, how can you not laugh with this stuff:

So, we took a long weekend...nice road trip...not too far from home, but still far enough away.  I was able to chill poolside with a nice drink and good book in hand.  The weather was mid 80s..perfect for sunning.  And, even though it wasn't "Stella About The Beach", I'll take poolside anyday!   We really got to enjoy each other and just be who we were 13 years ago when we met...no worries..just each other.

I love the pic below. We were at a little Paris cafe (Las Vegas) at 2:00 AM after the show.  I ordered a mimosa...why not?  And, I thought I was looking sassy, but I really look like a biotch...we had fun looking at the pics the next morning.

From Tom Collins to Whiskey Sours, Top Dollar and Wheel of Fortune, Sushi to Italian...I can't wait until we can do this again.  This really was one of my favorite trips with DH.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

You Will Always Be My Baby!

This morning, I was holding my baby girl, Jo,  in my lap and I began to rock her.  She'll be three in May and was needing some Mommy time this morning....or so I thought.  She looks up into my eyes...those eyes that saw me for the first time...that mother/daughter bond and I see myself in the reflection of her eyes.  She says, "Don't rock me, I'm not a baby anymore!" 

And that's how the ball rolls, my friends.....Boo, hoo hoo hoo! 

Darling, you will always be my baby girl! And don't you ever forget that!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Umm, Mommy Needs To Go Back To School

This past weekend, we were leaving my parents house that overlooks a large open field.  We often see cows, coyotes, antelopes, and whatever other little creatures that may scurry on by. 

This picture was from this past summer and yes, we are making sure the cows get enough to drink.  I don't think the neighbors cared too much for us.

My very active precious 5 year old son decides he's going to do a few laps around the driveway, around my vehicle, on the lawn, etc.  I say, (being the good Mom that I am) "We have to leave before the coyotes come out.  It's starting to get dark."  My son willingly jumps in his car seat and we say our good byes. 

On our 17 minute drive home, Jake says, "Mom, are coyotes nocturnal?" 

Me:  Umm,  uhhhh, yeah, well sure they are! 
(I mean, if coyotes are seen during the day, and they come out at night, well, then they're nocturnal. Right?)

As he could see hesitation in my voice, he says, "Owls are nocturnal, I think coyotes are too."

See, I'm a bad test taker...I was always looking for ways to see how the other answers were correct if you threw in this variable or that variable.  I was a damn good at projects though!

So, for all of you who only thought owls were nocturnal...here it goes:

–adjective1.of or pertaining to the night (opposed to diurnal).2.done, occurring, or coming at night: nocturnal visit.3.active at night (opposed to diurnal): nocturnal animals.4.opening by night and closing by day, as certain flowers (opposed to diurnal).a

–noun5.Archaic. an astrolabe for telling time at night or for determining latitude by the position of certain stars in reference to Polaris.

So yes, I have answered my own question....C
oyotes are active at night....I hear the pack laughing when they find a good catch, so they must be nocturnal.

So, yesterday, Jake says to me..."I think I'm nocturnal because I can get out of bed at night and see in the dark."  Damn that must be a good lesson they are teaching them at Preschool. 

This will be me soon...remember Billy Madison?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Am Me

The past few days I've been reflecting a lot on who I really am.  I am a wife, mother, friend, daughter, manager, PTA President, yet I tend to change in the roles that I am in.  I am merely a character in this play called life with all these different roles.  I do the best I can in all I do, and that's what I ask of those around me too.  So, how did I play these different roles this week?

I was the wife of a police officer, as I sat with is squad during dinner keeping my children occupied with flash cards.

I was the overzealous mother at my son's Kindergarten orientation making sure this school has the foundation in order to give him the opportunity at success in his life.  Then, we were family, as my husband and I took our son to Applebee's to celebrate.

I was the working mother as I rushed home during my lunch hour and prepared rigatoni for dinner that night.

I was the PTA President as I discussed some easy fundraisers to bring money into my children's current school.  We're looking at having a restaurant give back 10% of its proceeds on a given night.

I was the provider as I rushed to Costco, again during my lunch hour and stocked up on some items in the house.

I was the housekeeper doing laundry until 11:00 PM at night, then back at it at 7:00 AM the next morning.

I was the worried parent as I ached in my heart knowing that my daughter has knock knees.  I told the doctor two years ago that I thought she had them, as I have gone through life with them too.  The doctor stated she would grow into them and it was too early to tell.  I can tell now.  A mother's insticts are always correct.

I was the daughter as I sat at my Mom's house while the kids were napping enjoying a cup of coffee and just talking with her.  It's moments like this that I have to appreciate as life is too short and I'll never know when I'll be reminising of days like this.

I was the workout queen as I've found my peace on the weekend mornings spending a few minutes to myself on the elliptical.  At first I was guilty doing something for myself, but now I suppress the guilty feelings.  I need this. It provides the escape I need from everyday reality.

I was a little girl giddy with excitement as my husband and I have begun a fresh start.  Sleep deprivation is not fun.  We are finally on a schedule that works for us, and to top it off, we just booked a getaway to Vegas for a few nights...and an evening with Kevin James and Ray Romano.  Kevin James is our favorite comedian, and this will be a night of many laughs.  I love when my husband laughs so hard and tears come down his face. 

And yet, as I look upon this upcoming week, I'll play the same roles, but you never know how the ending will turn out.  So, this was a little bit about me this week.  How about you?

Monday, February 22, 2010

There's Always Someone Watching Over Us

There's a benefit tonight throughout all the Texas Roadhouses across Arizona "In Honor of our Fallen Officers" including Lt. Eric Shuhandler of the Gilbert Police Department.

I was a little upset because I teach on Monday nights, so I wouldn't be able to join my husband and our two kids for this benefit.  His squad's spouses and kids were all going and I felt bad, because I couldn't just cancel class. It's not my style.  I have a responsibility and need to be there.

So, as I woke up this morning and let out the dogs, I saw a sleeting rain come down, then turn into snow.  I got the kids ready for school as the snow kept coming down..yeah it's supposed to subside this afternoon.  So, what comes in my work email, "All evening classes (after 4 pm) at all campuses are canceled due to inclement weather."

Now, I was raised Catholic and always believed there is a higher being above us.  I may not go to Church or even say my prayers, but I believe in the golden rule, have a deep empathy for those around me, and know good things will come to those who believe.

Thank you for letting me be a part of this police community for one evening.  God bless our fallen officers, not only in Arizona, but all across the U.S.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Son Has Psychic Abilities

It's been over five years now and I've always had this inclination that my son has this secret inner strength to him.  It started when I was pregnant with my son and my Mom went to a psychic.  The psychic told my Mom that my son (which we didn't know the gender) is a "special" child.  Well, what the hell does "special" mean?  Now, I tend to lean toward the obsessive side of life and didn't know how to take that label. As I have learned through the years, let's just say my son is very "special". 

There have been instances over the years that have stopped me in my shoes as I looked at my son in amazement, but just shook off the notion that he could see beyond reality.  So, I've been starting to embed some of these events in my head and wanted to share some with you.

It was  a beautiful night in Arizona and we could see stars for miles.  Jake said to me, "I'm going to see a shooting star."  I told him we could certainly look for one and to keep his eyes open...I'll be damned, not a moment later, there appeared a shooting star and I saw pure joy in my child's eyes.

A week or two later, I was with my little man in bed.  You see, this is when we still co-slept together.  Some of you know the story of how my kiddos shared a room together.  When my little girl was born and moved from the bassinet to the crib, I booted my son out of the room, because he enjoyed keeping his sister awake and it took a lot of time to get him to sleep. Throw in that my DH was working graveyards and didn't sleep with me anyway, so I had my little man who would watch TV as I read a book for a half hour or so and then we'd go to bed.  Well, I was reading Dear John by Nicholas Sparks and I read a passage that talked about Will.  Well, just as I read his name, my son says out of nowhere, "Will rhymes with Phil."  I looked over at him and smiled and agreed with him.

This last instance occurred as I was driving back from my parents house one weekend.  My daughter had dozed off in her car seat and Jake was looking out the window.  I had the radio tuned into Country.  Well, Tim McGraw's, "My Little Girl" song came on.

I got lost in the song and got teary eyed thinking about my own JoJo and how my husband is protective of his own "little girl."  I remember thinking how this song would be a beautiful wedding song and envisioned Jordan as a big girl and my husband dancing with her....okay, now you know my inner thoughts and I'm a dork, but yes, this is what I was thinking.  Especially the lyrics:

"Someday, some boy will come and ask me for your hand
But I won't say "yes" to him unless I know, he's the halfThat makes you whole, he has a poet's soul, and the heart of a man's manI know he'll say that he's in loveBut between you and meHe won't be good enough"

Well, as we're riding quiet through the night and I'm lost in my thoughts, my son says to me "Mama, I want to go to a wedding sometime.  Do you want to go with me?"

And that my friends is why I think my son is psychic.  He certainly is a "special" boy?

Do you think I'm just an overzealous mother who thinks her children are the best in the world?  If so, who the hell cares, they are the best in the world.....every mother should have that thought about their own kids. Right? If you don't, why the hell not?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

I can remember being a little girl and watching the Wizard of Oz as it came on TV every year.  It was a big night that we all geared up with popcorn and pop (yes I'm from the Western NY), or shall I say soda?  It's just one of those feel good classic movies.  So, let's back up a bit, last summer, Jake became very interested in tornados.  He went to a half day summer camp with Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras.  Then, he saw a Wizard of Oz preview and we had to get it on DVD when it came out last fall! 

Let's just say the Wizard of Oz became a staple in our home.  But, what's interesting is my 2 1/2 year old little girl became a fan.  And, when the bad witch came on, she'd hold her hands over her eyes.  I questioned myself as a Mom, "Should I really let my kids watch the Wizard of Oz?" especially when they are 5 and almost 3 now.  And, you know what, I think yes.  It was a Friday night and my DH was getting ready for work.  I bought the DVD and was just as excited to watch it as my son was...Jordan didn't quite know what it was at the time.  It was movie night..we got the popcorn, we got the juice boxes, we had our bathes and blankies.  And you know what, I was excited...too darn excited to be exact.  And my DH stopped and watched the beginning with us for awhile.  He said how he remembers watching this show when it came on as a kid.  And, he said it was too bad he had to head to work, cause he wanted to watch it with us.

Now, I think the DVD wore off on us...Jake's on to watching Twister these days....do you see a theme?  Another tornado movie...only $5 at Target and Jake is the one that spotted the cover.  And, we have Tornado Chasers DVRed on our TV that certainly has got a lot of use.  We found a book at Barnes & Noble called Tornado Alley that is kid friendly.  We've read it A LOT!  But, it's these pics that are fun...when your little girl takes all the Wizard of Oz dolls of the shelf at Barnes and Noble, lines it up and plays with them. 

Know what else I really enjoy....when the kids start to pick up on the little things, like the horses changing colors in the Wizard of Oz, or when your little boy imitates the lollipop kids and your little girl imitates the ballerinas...they put on a show for you...they are only little once, and these are the memories which I've enjoyed!  Seriously, my son doing the lollipop kids is hilarious...I will have to secretly record him.

How do you feel about the Wizard of Oz? What are your fondest memories?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

VGNO - Virtual Girls Night Out

So, I think I need to start letting loose again.  DH works Friday nights, so I should be a part of the Virtual Girls Night Out!  Ann over at Ann Again...And Again hosted the party last week, so I'm a bit late, but let's see how this goes for now.

Name 3 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now:1.) It wouldn't be Stella...Always About The Beach if I didn't mention a beach.  Basically, I would love to be sipping a drink on any beach with my DH.  Right now the Sandals Resort in the Bahamas seems good.
2.) Laying poolside in the hot sun with a good book and beverage.
3.) At a broadway show in London, England
Name 3 Things You Will NEVER Drink Again:1.) Getting me to not drink anything NEVER again probably won't happen, but what the heck....Butterscotch Schnops...
2.) Lemon Drops...although I will drink Vodka
3.) Moonshine
People You Would Like To Have Dinner With-Not necessarily at the same time:1.) Definately DH, it's been too long since date night.
2.) Matt Damon
3.) Cameron Diaz - she'd be a hoot to have a few drinks with...

So, I think I got this thing going....so I'll see ya'll on Friday at the next VGNO!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Holding It All Inside

My husband didn't know this, but I quietly opened the door to the guest room where he was sleeping fighting off a fever and nasty cold. I watched him and was happy he was home safe in his bed.  Now, I keep arguing with him saying that he could have pneumonia, but he doesn't believe in going to the Doctor.  "They're all crooks and all we do is pad their wallets so they can go and find fancy cars.  Half of them have no clue what they are saying."  So, through all that, the coughing, the fever, I still value the time he is home. 

Arizona lost a fine police officer this week.  Lt. Eric Shuhandler was a member of the Gilbert Police Department. 

He worked closely with my brother every day.  He was at my brother's wedding.  And, he was shot in the face by scum of the earth while on a traffic stop.  My heart aches everytime I think of his two daughters 10 and12 not growing up with their father.  I too, was 12  years old, when my father, who was a Lt. was killed.  My heart aches for his ex-wife, who felt the police life was not for her, yet he was still the father of her children.  My heart aches for the Gilbert Police Department because they are a band of brothers...and my heart aches for my brother, who tries to hold it all inside, when he is hurting. 

And, I look at my husband, and he's hurting too.  He has said numerous times "there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop."  But, you know, my sister-in-law said it best, "I am proud to be a wife in the police department."  And I am too. 

I don't let others see how deeply this story has affected me.  I must be strong and continue on.  It's just so hard when it hits close to home.

RIP Lt. Eric Shuhandler. Thank you for your service to our community.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Are You Seriously Looking For A Yummy Treat?

The family and I spent Monday together as I made some homemade spaghetti, and it was de-lish!  So for dessert, we did:

Betty Crocker Cookie Brownie Bars

And on top of the "just out of the oven" cookie brownies, we added:

Girl Scout Tagalong Ice Cream

OMG - I was in heaven!!!!  Now, I need help for this:

I recommend this to anyone....the dessert, not the get your butt in shape....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ross's Booger

It's too bad the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't make it into playoffs this year.  My huband and I met, fell in love and all that other fun stuff outside of Pittsburgh, so it holds a special place in our hearts.  So, my soon-to-be 5 year old is obsessed with Steelers football. He got the uniform for Christmas along with a helmet. It doesn't matter what team is playing, he's "Ross's Booger".  (Quarterback = Ben Roethlisberger) Yes, he will someday follow in the footsteps of Ross's Booger.  I can only wish him the best in life......Here's to Ross's Booger!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Just Threw Up In My Mouth A Little Bit

I have to give a shout out to my anonymous girl, Terry Lopez, for turning me on to this story.  She found it at another fellow Mommy blogger at Blue Monday.

Warning: Graphic Content...but I know you Mommies can handle it...seriously, what do you think?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Buffet Line

DH and I are not really the parents who take our 4 (almost 5 year old) very active boy and 2 1/2 year old girl, who follows her big brother everywhere, out to dinner.  Yes, we've gone out to restaurants with them, although we've packed up dinners and taken them home by the time the main dish arrives.   Well, hey, it's enough to suck down a beer.  But, my word of advice, it you go somewhere that has a buffet line, which we did on our NPX trip, then please don't bring your child to the buffet line.  Let them sit in their chairs while Daddy and Mommy take turns.

The scenario went something like this to begin...Mommy and Jordan go up to get their plates. Jake decides he wants to come with us and not wait for Daddy.  So, he darts off behind us.  The first items, a fruit tray, a cheese and cracker tray.  All hands go for the fruit...as I dart to grab their hands off of every piece of fruit, the other goes for the cheese tray.  Cheese cubes tumble to the ground, fruit pieces everywhere.  A loud yell across the restaurant to get my DH to grab the kiddos.  All eyes on me...yeah, I think so, what do I do?  Take my foot and kick the food that was dropped on the floor underneath the table.  Smile as I give my children to my DH and suck down a drink....well, what would you do?

Monday, January 4, 2010

How Many Times Can We Thank God In This Blog

I've been MIA for a few weeks as I vowed to not do anything (except housework and play with the kids).  Some of you may know how my family won the North Pole Experience Trip to Santa's Workshop.  We decided to take off a few days prior to Christmas and enjoy some time together.  DH really needed some time and I did too.  We headed out to the White Mountains in Arizona.  As we are leaving, there are flurries in the sky.  DH checks the weather and it called for 12-18 inches in the mountains.  Just in time to get into the Christmas spirit.  There were a few things we learned on our road trip.  When you got to go, you got to go!  My youngest just finished potty training ...thank GOD!  But, she refuses to go on a toilet in a public place.  So, we bring our handy dandy toilet with us...and yes I did bring this into McDonald's as she had to go.  What do you do when you're in the middle of nowhere and have to go...well take pictures of your daughter as she goes #2.

So, as we continue on our trip, the weather gets pretty bad and we are basically making the tracks on the road.  Again, thank GOD for 4 wheel drive trucks!

I'm pretty sure our kids should be thankful for this trip.  Once we arrived to our destination..on a normal day would have took 5 hours, we got to our cabin in the woods.  We actually had "Dean" drive a John Deere tractor to plow our way.  Yes, we flagged him down on the main road. Thank GOD we found him driving down the road.  But, oh isn't the cabin so cozy?

It was so cozy that my DH wants his ashes to float down the Little Colorado River if something happens to him while we crack open an ice-cold Coors Light.  So, on we went to Santa's Workshop, where we built toys, ate cookies, had hot chocolate, and got to meet Santa.

Dinner at the lodge.

Then at Santa's Workshop.

The next few days we really spent time together as a family.  We had no cares in the world except being together.  And, it was good...really, really good.  Thank GOD for family.  Through good times and bad, we will always have each other!

Thank you DH for such a memorable trip together.  Here's to 10 years in 2010!

And, here's a belated Merry Christmas to ya'll and to all a good night!  Yes, this was my Christmas card that I sent out a few days before Christmas.  Turned out pretty cute?  Didn't it?